Lotsa reviews of stuff coming, but just wanted to point out an excellent article by Garrison Keillor. This guy explains totally where I'm coming from, and the specific dismay I've experienced at the current political scene - which is largely related to the policies, but also the decorum. I'm from that Scandinavian Midwest background he describes, and this portrays perfectly my viewpoint and the background from which it springs. Thank God there are people more articulate than I who can accurately express such nuances.
Here's a taste:
"What some people call elitism is simply a belief that God grants gifts to people regardless of social standing, and a Democrat wants the bus driver's kids who have a God-given ability to be recognized and uplifted. I want the University of Minnesota to be a great institution so that a kid from Biwabik or Blue Earth or Ortonville can entertain enormous ambitions, not just be trained to be a serf in a cubicle. It won't happen with Republicans in power. These shysters slid into power on a grease slick and have to be run out. The moment we do, political wisdom will change and the conservative machine will be quiet for a few weeks and we Democrats will have a new image."(I rearranged the order of the quotes there, though it does not alter the intent or meaning.)
"That's why we defend the notion of first-class public schools and transit and libraries and affordable higher education: Like Teddy Roosevelt and the Victorian reformers, we believe in the divine spark within every last soul and celebrate that in public magnificence -- Yellowstone, Central Park, the land-grant universities, the meritocracy, the ideal of public service as a noble calling."
Btw, the way Salon works is you have to sit through their "day pass" ad. Once you have, the site is unlocked for the day. Most of the ads you can just allow to run to completion in the background, others you have click through. Either way, it's not that much of a hurdle, like having to register or something.